Satan - Life Sentence

Satan Life Sentence cover
Life Sentence
Listenable Records
Newcastle Upon Tyne’s NWOBHM Classic Heroes Satan (who later suffered line-up and name changes to end up being known as Pariah) left quite legacy behind them, even if they were disbanded, with their respective members following different careers (see Skyclad, Blitzkrieg and various everyday jobs). Some 30 years ago they had released one of the seminal albums of that genre, in the form of the now golden standard that is “Court in the Act” and now on the anniversary of that very album they decided to give us it spiritual and natural successor with “Life Sentence”. They reassembled “the band”, got an artist to paint a very clichéd and similar cover to the ones they had back in the day and they wrote a bunch of tunes that they could have written back in the day and even went for a production that while is not bad by any means is as retro as it could possibly be without raising suspicion that it could have been from “back in the day”. Thankfully it manages to retain and marry “the character” from the “old days” with a fuller better sound that’s possible to achieve these days.
The band however sounds – virtually – as if they have just stepped out of some time-warp, from 1983, which is a bit unsettling – some of them even look relatively unchanged in photographs! Vampirism? Who knows! Hahaha!
“Time to Die” kicks in with a flurry of guitars led by really great and typically “Satan-ic” (oooo-er missus) riff and doesn’t let go until Brian Ross, semi triumphantly exhales, ~Death is my Priiiiiiiize~...
“2025” boasts a slightly heavier riff and here I was sort of thinking, wait, I may have heard this riff somewhere before (maybe in Blades) but before I could give a fuck, trying to decide if I was right or wrong, the song, would roll on with its own little different arrangement and little story and chorus and it actually is so good, that even, if it’s a bit reminiscent… SO WHAT!?
“Cenotaph” whips up with this very sadistically up-tempo intro that is also quite sinister and eerie sounding… the lyrics are not really any more pleasant either. There’s a bit of an epic interlude that gives way to some weird solos and some further verses that raise the furor before the track comes to a close.
“Siege Mentality” is one of the best tracks of the album, epic, fast paced, unrelenting, riffy and even quite able to make a veiled political statement. (It’s nice how everyone will take us the common folk as totally stupid and naïve people that don’t have a clue and should also be deprived of an opinion – what a bunch of BS!)
“Incantations” end up rather energetically, but during its first half it’s quite hypnotically disposed and it has a rather eastern vibe. After its solos and a few repetitions of the chorus it just speeds up to its conclusion.
“Testimony” then just starts in that same high gear and it has a very “legal-ese” sort of lyrical progression about it, but its good fun. Cool solo work right there as well, dual in fact, to be frank!
“Tears of Blood” begins with a bass rumble and a very cool guitar lick, and it keeps mounting a mid-paced attack with considerable fervor. There’s even time for a wicked chant and a dark and nasty sounding “spoken part” in there. Quite atmospheric piece this one and epic, without resorting to sword and sandal recipes!
“Life Sentence” the album’s namesake is a lightning fast riff strong number that just erases in one swift go all the damage that grunge and nu-metal has done to the genre. At least in my romantic mind and soul! I am sentenced to life to love this sort of shit and you know I don’t want no parole from rock n’ roll! No, Thank You!
“Personal Demons” is a bit more akin of “Unholy Trinity” era Blitzkrieg, maybe? Or maybe not! It’s a cold and weird, fast and quirky number, with quite an adventurous rhythm section as well! Way to go Bean & T! Well my demons got the best of me! (faints)
Finally “Another Universe” is a very melodic and quite nightmarish tune, which initially starts a bit as a sweet sounding, maiden-esque quasi-ballad to just freak out of this universe into another dimension!
With not a single “weak” song in its tracklist, but all in all a little less staying power than “Court…” which is however one of the most classic metal albums ever… well… “Life Sentence” is a BLOODY MARVELOUS, OLD SCHOOL, HEAVY METAL (NWOBHM) ALBUM! END OF STORY! Rob a bank, just like the IMF, or the EU, or common people do, just holding up a gun, ask for pocket money, hold up a liquor store if you have to, but don’t let yourself be caught without a copy! It's really that simple... it's criminal to call yourself a metal fan and to not be aware of this great band and of this great album.